"Illustrating Depression: Capturing the Truth About This Illness" by Debi Gliori (Night Shift)

night-shift

Today we're excited to share a guest post from Debi Gliori, author of Night Shift

 

Unlike every other book I’ve written and illustrated, I didn’t set out to make a book when I began the drawings for ‘Night Shift’. The other thing I didn’t do was run it past my agent or my editor or another living soul until I’d drawn several of the pages to my own satisfaction. Actually, perhaps ‘satisfaction’ isn’t the right word. Let’s go with ‘until I’d nailed how I was feeling’. At that point, I asked my partner if he would cast an eye over what I’d been doing. I didn’t want anybody else seeing the drawings at that stage. He took one look at the first few black and smudgy drawings and fell silent.

Just to explain; my normal medium is watercolour - ladylike, contained and controlled on pre-stretched 100% rag watercolour paper. These...these Night Shift drawings were of a whole different order. For one thing, they were massive; too big to fit on my drafting table, I bought a proper artist’s easel, propped a sheet of hardboard on it and attached a vast roll of drawing paper to the top of that with a random assortment of bulldog clips. Pretty, it wasn’t. Then, rather than plan my drawing out in pencil, which is what I normally do for watercolours, I picked up a stick of charcoal, took a deep breath and got stuck in. My hands turned black, I lost track of time and occasionally I had to pull back, take several deep breaths and cover the drawing up less it pull me under.

Some things are better analysed in retrospect. I think I was trying to capture the exact feelings (or lack of feelings) which accompany the descent into a depressive state. I was circling the drain (a familiar place over a lifetime of living with depressive illness) and was trying to document my descent. I wanted to attempt to get a signal out from the depths of the pit in the hope that somebody would actually understand what it feels like to be down there.

Fellow-sufferers, family, friends, strangers, anyone who might say - I hear you.

The inspiration for parts of Night Shift came from my memory of my first encounter with depression as a new graduate from art college in Edinburgh

in 1984. Back then, depression wasn’t talked about. It was medicated, hidden and, to me at least, felt shameful, as if by succumbing to its foggy embrace, I’d shown how weak I was. My family cajoled, ignored, pretended and generally forced me to act as if nothing was wrong. I had a teaching contract at the Art College. What on earth did I have to be depressed about? Pull yourself together, they said. Show some backbone, they said. Unsurprisingly, under this regime, I fell to bits. Big time.

A nine month period of medicated fog ensued after which I slowly put my life back together, terrified that I’d have a relapse. Unfortunately, over the course of the following years I’ve had several relapses; post-natal and clinical, heading back down into that all-too familiar pit, hoping that the initial symptoms were something else, feeling the fear when I realised that the fog was rolling back in again. As my most recent episode began, I decided to report back from the frontline, and ‘Night Shift’ is the result.

My hope is that it can be used as a way to communicate. A permeable membrane between people with depression and people who would like to understand the illness. For those of us who have depressive illness, it can be almost impossible to explain how wretched we feel. It can feel like being walled up in a tomb. A hermetically sealed bubble. To be able to pick up a small book and turn to a page and say, ‘This is me today,’ and then turn to another page, ‘But I hope to feel like this tomorrow,’ could initiate a conversation. I suspect it’s as hard to watch someone you care about go through depressive illness as it is to suffer it; I hope that ‘Night Shift’ enables understanding and helps with those awkward silences that follow questions like, ‘So...how are you feeling?’

Deliberately, there are very few words in Night Shift in order to let the pictures talk and allow them be interpreted in whichever way the reader finds most helpful. Suffering from depressive illness puts us in such a lonely place. To be able to communicate and share our feelings could help lessen the loneliness. 

 

Meet Debi Gliori!

 
Debi Gliori lives in Scotland. Debi is well known for both her picture books and her novels for children and has been shortlisted for all the major prizes, including the Kate Greenaway Award (twice) and the Scottish Arts Council Award. Debi was the Shetland Islands' first Children's Writer-in-Residence. She has written and illustrated No Matter What, The Trouble With Dragons, Stormy Weather, The Scariest Thing of All, What's the Time, Mr Wolf?, Dragon Loves Penguin and, most recently, Alfie in the Bath and Alfie in the Garden as well as the popular Pure Dead fiction series for older readers.
 

 

Meet Night Shift!

 
 
 From beloved author and illustrator Debi Gliori (No Matter What) comes Night Shift, a groundbreaking lushly illustrated picture book based on Gliori's own personal history with depression.

Fighting dragons is one way of fighting depression. This book is another.     

Through stunning black and white illustration and deceptively simple text, author and illustrator Debi Gliori provides a fascinating and absorbing portrait of depression and hope in Night Shift, a moving picture book about a young girl haunted by dragons. The young girl battles the dragons using 'night skills': skills that give her both the ability to survive inside her own darkness and the knowledge that nothing--not even long, dark nights filled with monsters--will last forever.    

Drawn from Gliori's own experiences and struggles with depression, the book concludes with a moving author's note explaining how depression has affected her and how she continues to cope. Gliori hopes that by sharing her own experience she can help others who suffer from depression, and to find that subtle shift that will show the way out.    

A brave and powerful book, give Night Shift to dragon fighters young and old, and any reader who needs to know they're not alone.
Blog Tour: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore, Plu...
Featured Review: Autoboyography by Christina Laure...

Related Posts

 

Comments

Already Registered? Login Here
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to Bohring-home to 453 people, 2,053 alligators, and one...
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Winner of the 2018 Carnegie Medal! New from Michael L....
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
“Fast, funny, frightening—and filled with shocks and surprises. These books...
Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finding out my mother was taken by the demons...
Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut about first love and second...
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love,...
Golden Crown
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
No longer only a warrior. Not just a queen....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first vampire. The last Nephilim. The end...
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
What is it like to live in 4519 AD...
Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
This action-packed graphic novel based on the New York...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach aspires to break out of small town...
Stuffed
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome, little one. You have been chosen to join us,...
Merged
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seven of our country’s most gifted teens will become Nobels,...
Bury Me
 
0.0
 
4.7 (1)
No one ever leaves Copper Hollow. It's a town with...
Estranged #2: The Changeling King
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Enter a world of faerie magic and epic adventure in...
The Edge of the Word (Mightier than the Sword, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The exciting follow-up to Mightier Than the Sword, the humorous...

Latest Member Reviews

Frankly in Love
 
4.7
"I love this book so much. I read it pretty much in one sitting because I couldn't put it down!..."
The Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
"THE MONSTER HYPOTHESIS is a really fun middle grade investigative mystery. Kick is living with her grandmother, a fake psychic..."
Legacy Awakened
 
5.0
"Ava is the child of prophesy and all eyes are on her because she is the daughter of the Prime..."
Hushed
 
4.0
"Romy has just finished school and is torn because she isn't sure what she wants to do with her life...."
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
"WHERE THE WORLD ENDS is an intriguing historical fiction, based on a true story. The boys of Hirta are sent..."
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
"Ren and Kip aren't sure what to expect when they visit their Aunt for Halloween. She works at an Old..."
Stuffed
 
4.0
"STUFFED follows Clark and Foon. Clark is a boy who loves stuffed animals and feels that they keep him safe...."
Bury Me
 
4.7
"In horror books and movies, we often see dolls as the main source of scares( such as Annabelle or Child's..."
Golden Crown
 
4.3
"I have mixed feelings about this book. It follows the second book immediately and starts off with Etta struggling with..."
Juliet Takes a Breath
 
4.7
"Juliet Takes a Breath is a coming of age story about a Latina lesbian from the Bronx who travels to..."
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
5.0
"Fireborne is a fantasy novel set nine years after a bloody uprising against a brutal regime in which the poor..."
Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"i am from Italy hello. Can you help me translate? /rardor"
Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind
 
5.0
"This is a must read book that shows the lives of Japanese American children who ended up being taken from..."
The Edge of the Word (Mightier than the Sword, #2)
 
5.0
"THE EDGE OF THE WORD is another absolutely delightful interactive story, where you are the main character in the book...."
Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
4.0
"Kali is the hope of saving the world from vampires and demons. She’s a vampire huntress who also happens to..."
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
"THE GALACTIC ADVENTURES OF HAZEL - GURECOA takes place in the far future, where our planet is only vaguely recognizable...."
Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel)
 
4.3
"BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER (THE GRAPHIC NOVEL) converts the YA novel by Marie Lu into graphic novel format. The plot remains the..."
Rat Rule 79: An Adventure (Yonder, #1)
 
5.0
"RAT RULE 79 is charming, ridiculous, and completely engaging. Fred is about to turn thirteen in a new place, as..."
Magic Tree House Deluxe Holiday Edition: Christmas in Camelot
 
4.0
"Jack and Annie get an invitation from "M" to spend Christmas in Camelot, which excites them since they haven't heard..."
Awesome Dog 5000 (#1)
 
4.0
"Marty Fontana and his mother move to a new town for her job, and have a house that belonged to..."